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My 8 1/2 week spoo has been with us for one week. He already climbs out of his exercise pen, and when I try to take him for a walk he pulls and darts around and tried to play tug of war with the leash. We have a routine of play/exercise then train for a few minutes. Then he is worn out and sleeps in his crate. I need ideas of how to keep him busy during play/exercise time since going for a walk doesn’t work. His attention span is only a few seconds/minutes and he isn’t very food motivated. He also turns into a demon dog if I overtire him. We are frustrated and I am wondering if I am going to be any good at raising a puppy.
 

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You will be fine. Don't get emotional or frustrated since I find that puppies respond strongly to strong feelings in their peeps. How many times a day are you doing your play/exercise/train routine? It should be at least three and would be better if 5 times per day, just short sessions and probably with the training first. Making a smart puppy think and learn makes them use their brains which burns sugars which wears them out.
 

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Play, pee, snooze, think, poop, snooze, eat, pee, snooze, play, poop, snooze, explore....

Your puppy is just a baby. That’s his life right now. He should be sleeping 20 hours a day. Enjoy it. :)

To fill the waking hours, join a great puppy class and mix a little training into the fun. My idea of training an 8.5 week old puppy is just ensuring that any games we play together are promoting good behaviour: Learning how to chomp toys instead of humans. Treats magically appearing when all four paws are on the ground. That sort of thing.

We started leash skills around 12 weeks, and even then it was just a very loose leash for safety while we explored interesting sights and smells together. Before that point, it was all about reinforcing that puppy instinct to follow follow follow. No leash necessary.
 

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Play, pee, snooze, think, poop, snooze, eat, pee, snooze, play, poop, snooze, explore....

Your puppy is just a baby. That’s his life right now. He should be sleeping 20 hours a day. Enjoy it. :)

To fill the waking hours, join a great puppy class and mix a little training into the fun. My idea of training an 8.5 week old puppy is just ensuring that any games we play together are promoting good behaviour: Learning how to chomp toys instead of humans. Treats magically appearing when all four paws are on the ground. That sort of thing.

We started leash skills around 12 weeks, and even then it was just a very loose leash for safety while we explored interesting sights and smells together. Before that point, it was all about reinforcing that puppy instinct to follow follow follow. No leash necessary.
Do you mean teach the puppy to follow you using treats and don’t have a leash on him? Did you keep him in his yard? I am trying to get him out to safe places to socialize during COVID and would worry he would run off?
 

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Because of our main floor set up we were never able to use an xpen. When our puppy needs a nap because she's overtired but won't settle she goes in her crate. If your pen is not working to contain your puppy this might be one interim solution until/unless you're able to get a different enclosure he can't climb out of.
 

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Because of our main floor set up we were never able to use an xpen. When our puppy needs a nap because she's overtired but won't settle she goes in her crate. If your pen is not working to contain your puppy this might be one interim solution until/unless you're able to get a different enclosure he can't climb out of.
Yes, we are now moving the crate upstairs during the day and he does a good job settling. Then back downstairs to our bedroom for night. It’s working wel
 

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One tip my breeder provided is carry pup from home and then walk back towards home because the puppy will naturally be apprehensive about leaving. I also completely ignore my pups initial interaction with the leash. If she wants to have it in her mouth, that’s fine by me. She can’t pull if I’m walking towards her, so my first week or two with any dog, I don’t even attempt to walk in a straight line. I go to an empty yard or field and plop them down right in the middle of it. I invite them to chase me, and we wander around. They quickly figure the leash thing out.
Try not to be frustrated and remember “this is a phase, and it will pass”.
 

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Do you mean teach the puppy to follow you using treats and don’t have a leash on him? Did you keep him in his yard? I am trying to get him out to safe places to socialize during COVID and would worry he would run off?
You don’t even need treats, although they’re great reinforcers. You just need to be fun and interesting: Trot backwards with a toy. Celebrate with a play session when he catches up to you. Then do big circles in the yard. Reward puppy with treats or play. Or suddenly run away. Cheer when puppy zips after you!

You want to be teaching him that it’s good to stick close to the humans. It’s much easier to teach leash manners with that foundation.

Also, 8.5 weeks seems awfully young to be out and about, walking on the ground, for socialization. We did take Peggy to a cemetery around 9 weeks, but she didn’t need a leash. Not only were we faster than her still, she had that strong puppy instinct to stick close. A puppy wouldn’t survive long on their own and—genetically—they’re hardwired to know this!

At 12 weeks we started puppy class and leash manners.

You can put a leash on your puppy now for safety, but I wouldn’t try to walk him yet in any sort of linear way.

I can’t recall—is this your first dog? If so, be sure to work from a good puppy raising manual. I highly recommend Ian Dunbar’s Before And After Getting Your Puppy. It’s available as a book:


And it can also be read online for free:



I also recommend googling “puppy blues.” It’s a very real thing, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

This stage of your puppy’s life will fly by.
 

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Lots of good advice given. I will add simple treat dispensing toys for puppies. You mentioned your pup isn’t food motivated but maybe putting it in a treat dispensing toy, there are all kinds of them, it would make it more interesting. More than one, if you can afford it will make it interesting over the days. Sometimes I would just throw kibble on the floor for puppy to find. It takes more energy to sniff out and search for the food. Simple training with the basics for sure, several super short young puppy sessions daily. Also a puppy flirt pole or even just a toy that you can drag and puppy can chase. Bobby loved playing fetch in the house. You could try that. Nothing wild or crazy though. I would gently toss a toy for him to bring back. He just naturally brought toys back to me being the retriever poodle that he is. 😉 I was definitely careful as I didn’t want to push him too much nor did I want to encourage high energy play. At 2 years old he still loves that game indoors. We call it “house ball.“ He’s always been very good about playing fetch “gently” in the house. Anyway, you could try. We would do these things several times daily...good ways to burn that puppy energy. I’m sure if you look online there are all kinds of fun puppy activities you could try. The key is short sessions, several times daily, and make it happy and fun for puppy and for you. And yes, as PTP said, the puppy blues are very real.
We are here for you! 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You don’t even need treats, although they’re great reinforcers. You just need to be fun and interesting: Trot backwards with a toy. Celebrate with a play session when he catches up to you. Then do big circles in the yard. Reward puppy with treats or play. Or suddenly run away. Cheer when puppy zips after you!

You want to be teaching him that it’s good to stick close to the humans. It’s much easier to teach leash manners with that foundation.

Also, 8.5 weeks seems awfully young to be out and about, walking on the ground, for socialization. We did take Peggy to a cemetery around 9 weeks, but she didn’t need a leash. Not only were we faster than her still, she had that strong puppy instinct to stick close. A puppy wouldn’t survive long on their own and—genetically—they’re hardwired to know this!

At 12 weeks we started puppy class and leash manners.

You can put a leash on your puppy now for safety, but I wouldn’t try to walk him yet in any sort of linear way.

I can’t recall—is this your first dog? If so, be sure to work from a good puppy raising manual. I highly recommend Ian Dunbar’s Before And After Getting Your Puppy. It’s available as a book:


And it can also be read online for free:



I also recommend googling “puppy blues.” It’s a very real thing, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

This stage of your puppy’s life will fly by.
I have Dunbar so I’ll re-read. I believe in the puppy blues. I’m even ready and so worried I’ll do something wrong! Thanks for your help.
 

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I didn't even take mine on a leash walk until 12 weeks, I have a yard and spending time out there throwing balls for him to chase seemed like an easier way to get energy out. he didn't have the attention span for leash walking that young either. We also started puppy classes at 12 weeks and the leash walking we learned there helped a lot too. I forget where I read it, but I read from a trainer that free play is better for getting out the energy at that age than leash walking. Do you have a yard you can work in?
 

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Poodle puppies are so smart and so demanding. It's like having an opinionated toddler in the house, except the toddler has vampire fangs and doesn't wear diapers. I guarantee for the next few months you will ask yourself several times a week, "Why did I think a puppy was a good idea?" Eventually it does get better. Just keep telling yourself it will be ok.
 

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This stage doesn't last very long!

You can get little tiny "tennis" balls at the pet store. Roll those, throw toys, run around in the back yard like a ninny so he can chase you. We sent our latest pup to "puppy daycare" run by a woman who specializes in puppy training. It was marvelous. He would come home after his session, crawl under the sofa and sleep for about 20 hours. His tail would spin like helicopter rotor when he went to class too.
 

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To add onto what cowpony said about toddlers -- the cure to an overtired demon spawn is more naps. I'm under the assumption you might sleep deprived too (welcome to puppy hood!), so doing this should help:

Pick up and take all the toys away ("the fun stuff"), close the blind, pretend to fake yawn, turn off all the lights, set your phone away for 20 minutes, tv off, pretend to sleep, "Alexa play calm music".

He's probably going to have to get up to pee soon, but every little bit of sleep should help prevent your baby from running on fumes.

Basil's been really cranky this week in the evenings at 9mo old and when it happens it's been a reminder to be more nap proactive and sleep intentional. A sleeping poodle is music to the ears. Of course everyone's poodle is different, but you should give this a shot.

You're doing great and your puppy is meant for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
One tip my breeder provided is carry pup from home and then walk back towards home because the puppy will naturally be apprehensive about leaving. I also completely ignore my pups initial interaction with the leash. If she wants to have it in her mouth, that’s fine by me. She can’t pull if I’m walking towards her, so my first week or two with any dog, I don’t even attempt to walk in a straight line. I go to an empty yard or field and plop them down right in the middle of it. I invite them to chase me, and we wander around. They quickly figure the leash thing out.
Try not to be frustrated and remember “this is a phase, and it will pass”.
Thank you. I have been trying the long line on the beach and it goes much better. I will try the “plop and chase” off leash when the beach is deserted. I appreciate your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To add onto what cowpony said about toddlers -- the cure to an overtired demon spawn is more naps. I'm under the assumption you might sleep deprived too (welcome to puppy hood!), so doing this should help:

Pick up and take all the toys away ("the fun stuff"), close the blind, pretend to fake yawn, turn off all the lights, set your phone away for 20 minutes, tv off, pretend to sleep, "Alexa play calm music".

He's probably going to have to get up to pee soon, but every little bit of sleep should help prevent your baby from running on fumes.

Basil's been really cranky this week in the evenings at 9mo old and when it happens it's been a reminder to be more nap proactive and sleep intentional. A sleeping poodle is music to the ears. Of course everyone's poodle is different, but you should give this a shot.

You're doing great and your puppy is meant for you.
Yes, I am sleep deprived and my favorite part of the day is when he naps. And, last night he slept 6 1/2 hours!!!!! Thanks for your help and support.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This stage doesn't last very long!

You can get little tiny "tennis" balls at the pet store. Roll those, throw toys, run around in the back yard like a ninny so he can chase you. We sent our latest pup to "puppy daycare" run by a woman who specializes in puppy training. It was marvelous. He would come home after his session, crawl under the sofa and sleep for about 20 hours. His tail would spin like helicopter rotor when he went to class too.
I am definitely going to line up some training and puppy play school. Hopefully by the time his shots are done this COVID thing will be under control enough for small businesses to open.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Poodle puppies are so smart and so demanding. It's like having an opinionated toddler in the house, except the toddler has vampire fangs and doesn't wear diapers. I guarantee for the next few months you will ask yourself several times a week, "Why did I think a puppy was a good idea?" Eventually it does get better. Just keep telling yourself it will be ok.
Very accurate assessment. I was thinking my son was easier than my puppy. This is all so helpful. At least this morning I figured out a routine where I got a cup of coffee!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I didn't even take mine on a leash walk until 12 weeks, I have a yard and spending time out there throwing balls for him to chase seemed like an easier way to get energy out. he didn't have the attention span for leash walking that young either. We also started puppy classes at 12 weeks and the leash walking we learned there helped a lot too. I forget where I read it, but I read from a trainer that free play is better for getting out the energy at that age than leash walking. Do you have a yard you can work in?
A big yard but not entirely fenced and the neighbors yards seem to be so much more attractive! But we have a beach and I have had very good playtimes there. Today is a super big storm so I have to come up with a plan B. All of these suggestions are helping calm me down.
 
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